Monday, September 15, 2008

My primary ballot and predictions

Here is how I plan to vote in the primary tomorrow...

State Representative Harold Naughton deserves to be reelected, and will receive my vote. He has been a strong advocate for the citizens of this district and is well equipped to continue as our representative. Challenger Steve Kerrigan is also a credible candidate, but he has not made a case that Naughton should be replaced and has not proposed specific solutions.

I strongly support Jennifer Flanagan for State Senate. Not only has Flanagan brought millions of dollars in aid to the North County while serving as Leominster's state rep., but she has also taken a leadership role in state wide issues, including her advocacy for education and public health bills. Flanagan has also shown progressive positions on social issues, including abortion and gay marriage. Brian Knuuttila has campaigned hard during the race and would likely bring that intensity to the state house, but his conservative views on social issues and a series of campaign gaffes which reveal a lack of organization are red flags.

Congressman John Olver will most likely be renominated to another term , but I will vote for challenger Robert Feuer in the U.S. Congress race. Feuer made a thoughtful case for his candidacy when he visited Sterling last month. Conversely, Congressman Olver was dour and aloof in his interaction with our Democratic Town Committee.

Finally, I will mark my ballot for John Kerry in the U.S. Senate race. Kerry has the sort of steady hand we need in the senate, and it is especially important that he return to the Senate with the uncertainty surrounding Senator Ted Kennedy's health. I do not believe Ed O'Reilly has the temperament to be an effective senator.

Here are my predictions:

Naughton 58...Kerrigan 42. Kerrigan got off to a great start early in the summer, but without making a case for why Naughton should go, he won't get enough support to go over the top. Still, it will be closer than I'd have expected back in May.

Flanagan 56...Knuuttila 44. For most of the summer I've been sure that Flanagan would hit low- to mid-60s and win in a walk. I'm not sure why, but my gut tells me that Knuuttila has been coming on a little in the last two weeks. Can't explain it, just a hunch. Not enough to win, mind you, but a respectable showing nonetheless. (Keep in mind that I badly underestimated Flanagan's support in the 2006 election, for what that's worth.)

Olver 70...Feuer 30. What is the statistic? That any candidate will lose at least 25% of the vote no matter who they are running against? My guess is that Feuer has only been able to contact enough people to add 5 points to that base.

Kerry 66...O'Reilly 34. I think election day will prove that the O'Reilly campaign has been much more smoke than fire. There is no chance that O'Reilly wins, and almost no chance that he is even close. If O'Reilly breaks 45%, I'll make a music video of myself singing Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias' "To all the Girls I've Loved Before" and post it on YouTube.

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